Three key steps for creating a highly localized website
Good user experience matters.
Especially when you want to expand your business internationally.
To make sure that your multilingual website is engaging for users in all local markets you need to create a highly localized experience. That’s more than merely translating your content to another language. It’s a total immersion in the culture of your end users. It’s a website that reflects how your potential clients think, act, navigate digital content, or how they take purchase decisions. How to achieve it?
Start from these key steps:
To create a highly localized website you need to be familiar with your local markets. That’s where an extensive market research comes in. You can set up a local team of marketers, designers, copywriters, and translators who will help you create engaging and locally relevant content. Sometimes you can achieve better results if you design your local website from scratch instead of trying to fit the original version into the standards and requirements of the new audience.
In your efforts to define the profile of your potential clients make sure to find the answers to questions such as: What are they annoyed with? What are their frustrations? What would they like to have? How much can they afford? How can your products or services solve their problem?
Based on these results, you can adapt your products, services, prices, and customer experience to make sure your offer is relevant for the local market. Then you can move on to adapting your digital content, e-mail communication, and marketing campaigns.
To stay relevant to your local customers, you also need to show some degree of sensitivity. Not all types of content from your original website will be suitable for your new market. Collaborate with a local team, with cultural consultants or localization experts to find out what items on your original website could be removed, modified, or replaced to tailor the website to the new target culture.
Maybe there are too many aggressive promotions that wouldn’t appeal to your end users? Maybe your potential clients need more encouragement to trust your brand? Then your local page could display an extra section with awards, certificates, and extensive testimonials. Maybe your local users come from a collectivistic culture? Then highlight how your clients can become a part of your community. You can do it by featuring loyalty clubs, memberships, or displaying images with groups of people.
There could be also specific trends on your local market that your brand should consider. For example, in the US and many Western European countries manufacturers and transport companies can easily enhance their image by focusing on environmental sustainability. So, if your original website doesn’t’ include this theme, include it on your localized versions to gain extra trust points on the local market.
It’s easy to publish a website in several languages. You could send your original content to translators, wait a few days, then insert the new language versions into your initial layout, and voila! Your mission can be deemed completed. But the results will probably fail to impress your end users. Instead, go an extra mile. Show your users that you care about their culture, preferences, or habits by displaying images with local people, adapting your content for local holidays, featuring topics that are dear to your end user’s heart.
Brainstorm your ideas with your local team of copywriters, designers, or translators to find unique ways of engaging with your potential clients. Maybe you can refer to local movies or songs? Maybe you can paraphrase quotes from local literature to spice up your marketing campaigns? Maybe you can show how you engage in social issues that are relevant on your target market?
As long as you remain sensitive to the local culture and follow website design conventions such as placing the logo in the top-left corner, or displaying the social medial icons in the footer, your creative possibilities are (almost) endless.
Building a highly localized website and staying relevant to your local users requires time and effort. But it’s worth embarking on this journey to create meaningful user experience and turn your potential customers into your fans and brand advocates.
Dorota Pawlak is a localization consultant for digital brands. She enjoys helping businesses enter new markets and is passionate about cultures, languages, and technology.
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